First let’s say it outright … there is no Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2016 or SharePoint Designer 2019, however, there is a SharePoint Designer for 2013 that’s still supported.

And, here’s the cool thing …

Did you know you can use SharePoint Designer 2013 to customise the following?

  • SharePoint 2013 On-premises
  • SharePoint 2016 On-premises
  • SharePoint 2019 On-premises, and
  • SharePoint Online (in Office 365)

In this post, I want to cover the following:

  • How to download and install step by step SharePoint Designer 2013
  • How to connect SharePoint Designer 2013 to your SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online Sites
  • Explain some of the key features that can be used for in your business applications
  • Show you how to control access and configure settings within SharePoint Designer
  • Explain how to enable and configure Workflow Manager for your lists/Libraries
  • Give a brief of overview of the actions that you can perform on a SharePoint list using SharePoint Designer

So, let’s get started..

How to download and step by step installation of SharePoint Designer 2013

To download SharePoint Designer 2013 Click here. You can choose 64/32-bit version of SharePoint Designer to download. Click on next button on the screen to continue the download.

Go to your download folder, find the “sharepointdesigner_64bit” file and run as administrator.

You will be prompted with a popup to allow the app to make a change to your device. Click on Yes button, to extract the files of SharePoint Designer.

On the following screen, you need to read and understand the Microsoft Software License Terms to use this product. Click on the given checkbox to accept and hit the Continue button.

On the next screen, click on “Install Now” button to continue.

You can see the progress of your installation on the following screen.

Now, you are done with the installation. If you want to see updates of the online products of Microsoft, click on “Continue Online” button or click on Close button to close the window.

How to connect SharePoint Designer 2013 to your SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online Sites

Now, open an instance of the SharePoint Designer 2013 and click on “Open Site” Option on the screen.

On the prompted window, you need to provide your SharePoint 2016 or SharePoint Online Site URL.

You need to provide your credentials to open a SharePoint Online or SharePoint 2016 site in the SharePoint Designer as depicted in the below screenshots.

After a successful login, your site is opened. Now, you should be able to see Site information on the first tab. You can use left navigation “Site Objects” to explore more about your SharePoint Site in the SharePoint Designer.

What are some of the key features within SharePoint Designer?

SharePoint Designer provides many features that can be used to create business solutions like creating workflows and subsites, publishing web sites, branding, and create and connect with External Data Sources using SharePoint Designer. Below are the features that can be used with SharePoint 2016:

  • Site information – SharePoint Designer provides site general information like SharePoint Version, Server Version, Total Storage Used, % of Available Stored Used, Quota for the Site etc.
  • Branding – Using SharePoint Designer, you can customize the branding for your site and publish it.
  • Workflow – you can create a workflow for a list or library using SharePoint Designer.
  • View and Edit List -SharePoint Designer allows you to view and edit the contents of the list. Also, you can create External Content Type for your list using SharePoint Designer.
  • Create Views and Forms – you can create views for your lists and manage them. Also, you can create customized forms using SharePoint Designer for your business applications.
  • Create and manage Internal and External Data Source – Using SharePoint Designer, you can create and manage multiple sources.

How to control access to SharePoint Designer

SharePoint Designer allows you to manage sites at Web Application Level and Site Collection level, and you need to be a member of one of the following groups to use SharePoint Designer and edit the SharePoint Site contents:

  • Site Collection Administrators
  • Designers
  • Owners

In SharePoint 2016, you can enble / disable SharePoint Designer at the Web Application Level by configuring settings using SharePoint Central Administrator Website as depicted below in the screenshot.

How to enable and configure Workflow Manager for your lists/Libraries.

By default, SharePoint 2013 Workflow platform is not available in the SharePoint Designer 2013. To get the SharePoint 2013 Workflow, we need to configure Workflow Manager on the SharePoint Server.

Once, you’re done with the configuration of Workflow Manager on the Server, and the Workflow Service Application Proxy service status is connected.

Now, you should be able to select SharePoint 2013 Workflow from the Platform Type dropdown to create Workflow for your list as depicted in the below screenshot.

There are the following limitations with SharePoint Designer Workflow.

  • It allows only sequential Workflow.
  • It’s difficult to deploy SharePoint Designer Workflow on different Environments like TEST, DEVELOPMENT and PRODUCTION.
  • It doesn’t have a built-in Source Control mechanism.

What items can be managed in a SharePoint List using SharePoint Designer?

  • Custom list
  • Permissions
  • Columns
  • Views
  • Forms
  • Content Type
  • Custom Actions

Now, we are done. And, you should be able to do many more things with SharePoint Designer 2013.


Other SharePoint 2016 articles and videos of interest:

About the author 

Dharmendra Singh